Forty Best-practices Instructional Activities

Jigsaw Strategy
Back to
40 Best-practices
Instructional Activities

Background: The Jigsaw Strategy is a variation of the Expert Panel.

Procedure/Example: Students read informational texts about the whooping crane. The topics for research include: Nesting Habits, Migration Behavior, Physical Description, and Body Parts. Divide the class into small “HomeBase” groups. Each student in each group is assigned a number: 1,2,3, or 4. Have all the students with the same number reassemble into “Expert” groups. Expert group #1 studies the body parts of the whooping crane. Expert group #2 studies the physical description of the crane. Expert group #3 studies the migration behavior of the crane. Expert group #4 studies the nesting habits of the crane. The students should gather in their "expert groups" to read informational selections specific to the assigned topic. Encourage students to read, recall, reread, take notes, construct graphic organizers for the main ideas and details, and create any visuals they could use to teach others about the topic. After the expert groups have read, summarized, and illustrated the information, they return to their “HomeBase” group. The #1 Experts teach the “HomeBase” group about the body parts of the whooping crane. The #2, #3 and #4 Experts teach the group about the topics they researched.

Variations: Rather than returning to “HomeBase” groups, each Expert group could make a presentation to the class on the topic they researched. This activity can be a one-day event using short informational texts or students can work with Expert groups during a longer unit of study with many reading selections. When using this Jigsaw activity for the first time, the recommendation is to provide a short text (Fact Sheet) that targets each topic:

Jigsaw Information Sheets:
Expert Group #1 Fact Sheet: Body Parts
Expert Group #2 Fact Sheet: Physical Description
Expert Group #3 Fact Sheet: Migration Behavior
Expert Group #4 Fact Sheet: Nesting Habits

Reading Strategies: Identify Main Ideas and Support Details, Summarize Information, Paraphrase Ideas, and Synthesize Information, Make Generalizations